The backyard homesteading movement is picking up steam with many people around the world starting to grow their own food, raise chickens, and even make soap. As a beginner homesteader, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what you should do first. We have compiled this guide of backyard homesteading for beginners that will help you get started on your journey!
Once you have your plot in order and ready to go, it’s time to start planting. One of the most common backyard projects for beginners is growing organic vegetables because they are relatively easy and don’t require a lot of space. You will need to decide if you want to grow annuals (plants that only live for one year) or perennials (plants that live forever), but you can always grow different types of plants next to each other.
Growing Annuals in Your Backyard
Some backyard homesteading beginners prefer growing annual vegetables because they are easier and require less upkeep than perennial crops, especially if it’s your first time gardening. To get started, you’ll need to choose which annual vegetables you would like to grow. Remember that these plants will only be around for one season, so make sure to pick ones that are in high demand and not prone to bolting. Some popular vegetables include:
Growing Perennial Vegetables in Your Backyard
If you are a backyard homesteading beginner looking for longer-term projects, consider growing perennial vegetables. These plants stay alive from year to year and require less upkeep than their annual counterparts as they don’t have to be replanted every season. Some vegetables that are perennials include:
– Green Onions
Raising Goats for Delicious Milk and Meat
Another backyard homesteading project that farmers can consider is raising goats. Goats are great animals to raise because they do not require a lot of space, they produce delicious milk and soft cheese which you can use in your cooking, and they also provide tasty meat! If you decide to get more than one backyard goat, make sure that you have a male and female because they will breed.
Here are Some Backyard Goat Care Tips:
– Feeding your goats a mixture of hay pellets, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, and grain feed
– Providing fresh water for your goats every day will not only keep them hydrated but will also ensure that goat milk is clean and delicious!
– Ensure your goats have the right shelter with enough space for everyone. Their houses should be large enough to accommodate all of their needs (such as sleeping, resting, etc.)
Raising Chickens for Fresh Eggs and Meat
Another homesteading beginners project you might want to consider is raising chickens. Not only can they provide you with fresh eggs and meat, but they can also help you keep unwanted pests like ticks and mice at bay. Plus, chickens are curious creatures that will certainly add some character to your backyard! Many homesteaders start by keeping a few hens in their backyard before eventually expanding into larger livestock such as pigs or goats.
First, homesteaders must decide if they want to purchase baby chicks or grown hens. Buying chickens can be a bit pricier than buying in bulk, but it will save you the hassle and time of building your coop from scratch (read more about how to build a backyard chicken run here ). Some tips for hen care include:
– Feeding your chickens a mixture of scratch, cornmeal, and oyster shells
– Ensuring that your backyard chicken coop has enough space for the number of hens you will be housing
– Providing backyard chickens with fresh water on a daily basis
How to Start Beekeeping in Your Backyard?
Beekeeping is a homesteading project that many farmers want to try out. Not only does beekeeping provide you with fresh honey, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn more about bees and how they function as livestock!
What You’ll Need for Beekeeping:
– A beehive box (which will house a frame inside of it)
– A bee escape (which will help backyard bees leave the beehive once you are ready to harvest honey from them)
– Beeswax foundation for building your beehives with (although recycled wax can also work in some cases!) (this is what chickens, pigs, and bees will all use for building their beehives and nests!)
– A bee smoker (which you can make yourself by using a tin with small holes in the lid) or buy one online here.
How to Choose Bees for Your Hive?
Bees can be purchased in different ways depending on your homesteading goals. For example, if you are looking to start beekeeping for the sole purpose of harvesting honey, it’s best to buy bees that have already started making their own nests!
This will save you some money and ensure that they are strong enough to begin making honey for you to harvest. If you are looking to have chickens, pigs, or bees on your property but do not want them making their own nests yet (or at all), then it’s best to buy new colonies of bees that will need time to grow before they begin producing eggs, bacon, and honey!
Finding the Right Spot in Your Backyard
Once you have decided backyard homesteading is something that interests you, the first thing to do is find a good spot in your backyard where you can grow some food. It needs to get at least six hours of sunlight and be away from large trees as this will block out light for plants. You also want it somewhere near water like a rain barrel or a hose.
The Requirements for Your Project
Backyard homesteaders will need certain tools in order to get their backyard up and running. You can find most of these items at your local hardware or gardening store, but some are simply old materials you have lying around your house. For example, if you want to build garden beds out of wood, you can use old pallets or scrap pieces of lumber. Other homesteading projects that backyard farmers might want to consider include:
– Growing your own vegetables in your backyard (especially if you are considering raising chickens!)
– Planting trees like pines and fruit trees (which will provide chickens with fresh pine needles and pigs will love to eat fruit from your trees!)
– Building a backyard chicken coop
– Growing flowers in your garden that can attract butterflies (which is great for bees)
– Building beehives
– Growing your own herbs for cooking in a backyard herb garden (this is great if you love to cook and eat fresh ingredients!)
Tools for Backyard Homesteading
For backyard homesteaders, there are many tools they will need in order to get their backyard set up. For example, you can find most of these items at your local hardware or gardening store, but some are simply old materials that you have lying around the house.
– Ax or Saw (depending on the backyard farm you want to build)
– Pick Axe/Shovels for digging holes for trees and other backyard homesteading projects.
Homesteaders should also consider getting a birdbath, water bowl, feeder, tarp(s), and a winter cover for their backyard farm.
– Chainsaw (for backyard farmers who want to cut down trees in their backyard!)
– Electric drill/screwdriver with screws, nails, bolts for building coops, garden beds, and other backyard farm projects.
Ways People Can Make Money from Homesteading?
There are many ways people can make money backyard homesteading, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
– Selling homegrown vegetables (to your neighbors or at local farmer’s markets)
– Selling backyard raised chicken/eggs to friends and family members. Just be sure not to charge too much as you do not want people taking advantage of your hard work!
– Selling backyard honey/beeswax candles (if you are into that kind of thing)
– Hosting backyard farm-themed parties for children and adults where people can learn more about backyard homesteading. You could even invite local farmers to come to talk about their careers as well if they would like! Be creative with this
Now that you know what backyard homesteading is and how to get started on your homestead, it’s time to speak with a local farmer in your area about community resources for backyard farms. If there aren’t any backyard farmers near you, consider finding one online or through the phone book!
What Do Homesteaders Do in Winter?
Homesteaders continue to backyard farm all year round, even in the winter months! There are many plants that thrive during this time of the year and farmers will want to take advantage of having a greenhouse.
How Do You Become an Urban Homesteader?
Urban homesteading isn’t necessarily an official farming term, but it is something that many farmers want to try out! Urban homesteaders will often live in apartment buildings or small homes and farms on the rooftops of their buildings.
How Do You Live Self Sufficient?
In order to farm your way towards living self-sufficient, you will want to have chickens for fresh eggs and pigs for a steady supply of bacon. You can also raise bees on your property if you are looking to harvest honey from them!